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carCar accidents happen all the time in Florida and throughout the United States. In most cases, the owner of the car is the person driving it. But what happens when you loan your car to someone, and they get into an accident? Under Florida law, a vehicle owner may still be liable even though they were not actually behind the wheel at the time of the crash.

Earlier this month, television reality star Blac Chyna’s white BMW hit another car carrying three passengers in Los Angeles. Witnesses say that the driver of the car left the scene immediately after the accident. Blac Chyna, however, wasn’t behind the wheel at the time of the accident. The star had loaned her vehicle to a friend, who was ultimately involved in the hit-and-run.

The plaintiff then named Blac Chyna in a personal injury lawsuit, claiming that as the owner of the vehicle, she should be liable for the damages under the theory of negligent entrustment.

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After a number of fatal crashes involving emergency vehicles on the shoulder of the highway, the state of Florida decided to take action. Florida has now created a new set of laws with the goal of protecting emergency and assistance personnel when automobiles are on the side of the road.

A number of other states have also launched similar measures to prevent such tragic roadside accidents. According to a nationwide Mason Dixon Poll sponsored by the National Safety Commission, approximately 71 percent of Americans had never heard of ‘move over’ laws. This statistic highlights the need to raise awareness about these laws so that they can be effective in preventing accidents on state roads.

The move over law in Florida requires that when police, ambulance, fire, or other emergency vehicles have their sirens or lights on, all surrounding automobiles on a two-lane or broader roadway slow down to 20 miles per hour and get out of the way as quickly and safely as possible. If the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or less on a single-lane road, the driver is required to slow down to five miles per hour. Continue reading →

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carThe use of rental cars is very common in Florida due to the high volume of visitors who travel to the state for business and pleasure every year. The high rate of rental car use also means that rental car accidents are quite common. Unfortunately, Florida laws pertaining to collisions in rented and leased vehicles favor insurance companies and car rental companies as opposed to the car accident victims. If you’ve been injured in a rental car accident then South Florida personal injury attorney Robert Dixon can help.

In Adams v. Bell Partners, the plaintiffs were injured in an automobile accident involving a rental car. The rental car was paid for by the driver’s employer, Bell Partners. Bell Partners had rented the car for their employee to use for business purposes. At the time of the collision, the vehicle was being driven by the employee’s husband. Bell Partners had an express policy that prohibited the use of rental vehicles by anyone other than an employee. Despite this policy, it was known by the employee’s boss that the employee often let her husband drive the rented cars, and he was also listed on the rental policy as a permitted driver.

The plaintiffs sued Bell Partners alleging the employer was liable for the accident since the car was rented in the company’s name. Specifically, the plaintiffs cited the dangerous instrumentality doctrine claiming the employer was vicariously liable for authorizing and paying for the employee to rent and use the vehicle. Bell Partners’s insurance company denied liability citing that company policy forbade the employee’s husband from operating the rented car and they did not have to cover the plaintiff’s damages because the employee’s husband was not an authorized user. Continue reading →